If playing the style of pop-punk known as "emo" means flaunting your vulnerability, then Mayday Parade's third, self-titled album is quintessential emo. Such song titles as "Call Me Hopeless, Not Romantic" and "I'd Rather Make Mistakes Than Nothing at All" perfectly express the band's anguished adolescent worldview. The Tallahassee quintet writes about being disillusioned and isolated, only to turn those sentiments into choruses designed to be sung by thousands of like-minded outcasts, and sometimes bolstered by violins.
The Parade has the disadvantage of coming to this formula a few years (or decades) late. But the group has certainly mastered it and constructed the album's 12 bummed-out yet upbeat tunes on its own terms. After enlisting song doctors to help compose the material on its previous album, "Anywhere but Here," the group made a point of writing these songs collectively. When the "whoa-ohhs" swell, the camaraderie feels genuine, as do vocalist Derek Sanders's regret, resentment and self-doubt, whether supported by solo piano, acoustic guitar or a full arena-rock storm. Obsessively recalling a lost love in "No Heroes Allowed," the singer muses, "This can't be healthy." Maybe not, but "Mayday Parade" sure is robust.
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